Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

In A (Eggplant-Tomato) Jam: Three Days Until Dinner

So many tomatoes. Too many eggplants. What I could I possibly do with them all? With the season's bounty increasing weekly and my fridge overflowing, I had to come up with something and quick. At least the weather is cooperating and my kitchen is cool enough for cooking.

Somehow, some way, a recollection of this incredible Paula Wolfert recipe from World of Flavors, for Eggplant-Tomato Jam came to me. The perfect way to empty my fridge. In this recipe, the eggplants are fried alone, then the tomatoes, before they are cooked together; down to a soft, unctuous, jam-like consistency, intense with Moroccan spices. This "jam" is used to accompany a Moroccan chicken tajine, cooked until it is falling off the bone. I served this with a side of couscous and some kale braised with onion and smoked paprika.

Easing out of lazy mode, I chose to prepare this meal over a three-day period. This made it feel like less work. On day one, I sliced and salted the eggplant. Izzy helped to peel the eggplant so that it had stripes. In fact he was quite good at this task! Then I rinsed it and refrigerated it. On day two, I sauteed the eggplant and tomatoes and finished that dish. That same night, I prepared the chicken. On the third day, only the side dishes were left.

I was able to leisurely prep and cook the side dishes right before dinner tonight. We sat out in the cool yard to feast, Moroccan-style.

Recipes and more pix to follow: check back for updates..the dirty dishes are calling.

Eggplant-Tomato Jam (Paula Wolfert)


2 lbs. eggplant, kosher salt

olive oil for frying

3 medium cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

several pinches cayenne pepper

2 large tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped (I did not seed, too lazy)

pinch of sugar

1. Trim eggplants and peel strips so they look striped. Cut cross-wise into 1/2 slices. Sprinkle with salt and let drain in a colander for at least 2 hours. Weight down if possible. Rinse and drain eggplant. Pat dry. (You can do this a day in advance).

2. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry eggplant in batches until golden-brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Drain the eggplant on paper towels.

3.Strain the oil and reserve. With a potato masher, crush eggplant with crushed garlic, herbs and spices.

4. Cook tomatoes in reserved oil over high heat until the moisture evaporates (about 5 minutes).

5. Add the mashed eggplant to the tomatoes in the skillet and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until most of the moisture evaporates and the mixture is very thick. Stir in lemon juice and vinegar. Cool cover and refrigerate (This can be made up to 3 days in advance).
This jam is wonderful alone (for the vegetarian sorts), on a sandwich, with mozzarella or as we had it with the chicken tajine in Wolfert's book. It would also go quite well with Moroccan lamb dishes.


Anonymous said...

Oh man! that sounds AMAZING!!! the boy and I were just sitting here thinking about what we should grill at our block's block party this weekend and we'd settled on harissa marinated lamb, and wouldn't you know, but this would go perfectly. Now I just have to find that cookbook by friday! Thanks soooo much for the idea! it sounds divine! now, can I borrow Izzy for the day to help with the peeling? (just kidding!)

Izzy's Mama said...

Ann: Funny but probably just as you were writing I was on my way to scan the recipe and thinking that it would be just the thing to serve with lamb. We are on the same wavelength. The best part, you can prepare it up to three days in advance! I will get the recipe up by tomorrow..my scanner is not working at the moment.